The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A child friendly country.

Malaysia is a child friendly country - or at least, it makes an effort to be so. Indeed, it makes efforts I have not noticed in neighbouring Singapore.

A week ago, I was in IKEA, the iconic furniture store. What most impressed me about the store was not the size (absolutely had storage facilities that could swallow Singapore's flagship IKEA store, whole.) No. What impressed me was one little detail that others may overlook. Next to the full sized shopping trolleys, in this store, there was a little row of "toy sized" ones. More precisely, they were miniature shopping trolleys, clearly designed so that three, four and five year olds could push a little trolley around the store, like mummy. How sweet!

There are other details, too, I have noticed. Today, for instance, at Bandar Utama, the shopping centre, I noted something I have not seen in any other country. In the men's toilet, one of the cubicles was larger than the others. In it there were two toilet bowls: a full sized one for Daddy - and a smaller one, beside it, for his son: how thoughtful.

Everywhere there seem to be special areas set aside for children: play areas in which the children can be placed, whilst the adults shop. This is not unique to Malaysia, of course - but it is very common here. The play areas are also rather elaborate. The one in Bandar Utama today, was four stories high, an indoor play area of intricate passages, things to climb up, roll down and generally have fun within.

The other thing, however, is perhaps more important than all of this. It is something that may not be noted, but which is more telling than anything else. It is called a smile. So often, I see the serving staff in shops and restaurants, the people about the city, passing by and, indeed, many of the people we encounter at random, SMILING down at our children. They do not seem irked by their endless energy, by their rapid, random motion, by their jubilant cries as they play out their childhood, they are engaged by them, amused by them and SMILE.

In some countries, my three boys at play would attract scowls, not smiles.

So, I must say I am pleased at the attitudes towards children I have seen, so far, here in Malaysia. I am pleased at the efforts companies put in to make children welcome. I am pleased with the designers of shopping centres, who ensure that there is always plenty for children to do.

What remains to discover, of course, is how the schools are towards children: on that issue, I am presently blind. We will see. In the meantime, I shall continue to enjoy a refreshing welcome for children that I see, here, all around me.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and seven months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, five years exactly, and Tiarnan, twenty-eight months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, wunderkind, wonderkind, genio, гений ребенок prodigy, genie, μεγαλοφυία θαύμα παιδιών, bambino, kind.

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 11:07 PM 


Blogger beAr said...

i have noticed the kid-sized trolleys in ikea in singapore too; it's probably a company policy thing from ikea itself.

10:41 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thanks for letting me know, BeAr...I haven't been to Singapore's IKEA in quite a while.

I would say, though, that the overall picture I have seen, so far, in Malaysia, is that they are making somewhat more efforts re. children in society, than Singapore does. Singapore is not bad though...just that child friendly things seem more prevalent in Malaysia. That might, of course, be because typical Malaysian women have three children and Singaporean women have 1.2!

Best wishes, BeAr.

9:10 PM  

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